To her friends, Amber was a young, energetic yet talkative person. She always talked loudly and her friends, Robin, Emelda and Kathy will laugh whenever she made jokes, even though it was insensitive, sometimes racists and does not make any sense. They cherished every moment together and accept the way any of them behave and tolerate with it. Maybe because they have known each other since secondary school in Sacred Valley Secondary School.
To her colleagues in Amber was a troublemaker. When she talked loudly and made jokes, they seem annoyed especially when they were having a discussion with potential investors.
To her sibling, Amber was cold and hard to understand. Sometimes she screamed when their 4 years old sister changed the television channel to watch cartoons. This one sister always had bad temper and mumbling about how lazy her other sibling while doing house chores. However, later in the evening, Amber used to bring all her siblings to night market and bought them ice cream, toys and end up they spent the night having fun at funfair.
The situation above is just a simple example on how people behave and have various personalities. Some people are complicated to understand because the way they behave change like chameleon. We tend to like people whom share the same personality like we have and yet we feel annoy when one behave the opposite. This is also an advantage to us in sense that we can predict how they are going to behave in any situations.
In Essentials of Understanding Psychology, Robert S. Feldman mentioned in his book that personality encompasses the relatively enduring characteristics that differentiate people and those behaviors make every single of us unique. This fascinate psychologist who specialize in personality to hunt for answers on how people conduct themselves.
Psychological traits are characteristics that illustrate ways in which people are dissimilar from each other. For instance, calling someone afraid is to describe that the person is not as brave as his or her friends who loves rock climbing. While traits also classify ways people are alike. For instance people who are afraid are similar to each other in sense that they are nervous in high building, afraid travelling with airplanes and refused having dinner invitation in KL Tower restaurant.
The Big Five outline of personality traits from Costa & McCrae, 1992 has emerged as a strong model for understanding the connection between personality and various academic behaviors. The Big Five factors are openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism (OCEAN).
Openness is portrayed in a strong logical curiosity and a preference for novelty and variety. People with high level of openness are up to challenge, love exploring new adventure and always have curiosity in everything. They will try to find answers of everything that spark his or her interest and at the same time very considerate of others feeling. They also love contributing ideas and active in discussions. The opposite character reflected to people with low level of openness. This type of persons will have the same routine, afraid of changes and skeptical about everything. They are complacent in the way things are. They did not find science is amusing while they still believe in unconventional methods.
Conscientiousness is defined by always being prepared, live with discipline, tend to follow instruction religiously and always have target in their life. This kind of personality traits does not appreciate spontaneous act and last minute preparations. They will obey to any procedures and believe that planning is essentials in life. This person gives fullest attention in class and very details in describing stuff.
Extraversion is reflected via higher measures of tenderness, hospitability, positive kinds of emotions and very friendly. They love to be surrounded by people and very kind. For instance, if friends visit unalarmed, he or she will ensure the friends will feel welcomed and try to serve anything possible in the nick of time. Extraverts person are always energetic, easygoing and always a go guy or woman. This type of person is glue in a group. Unlike introverts, they are more antisocial but this does not mean they are shy or demoralize. They just not feel to show their emotions to others.
Agreeableness can be illustrate as very kindhearted, supportive and concerned about others. In group, this person will respects others opinion, open to suggestions and really know how to behave in a large group. They appreciated one on one conversation as they can give undivided attention to the person. Compromising is amongst the good value in their life. While disagreeableness traits will always create trouble, selfish and underestimate others opinion.
Neuroticism is instability in emotion that may lead to negative emotions such as anger, depression, anxiety and others. According to Eysenck’s (1967) theory of personality, neuroticism is interlinked with low tolerance for stress or aversive stimuli. They tend to accept everything in life is problems and challenge that are difficult to deal with. They always stress, bad mood and complicated to understand.
Psychological Mechanism Psychological mechanism is the process of personality which involve and information processing activity with three essentials ingredients; input, decision rules and outputs.
The state where people are more responsive to certain kinds of information from the setting is defined as input. When they think about precise options is called decision rules and lastly output is the behavior toward certain categories of actions. For instance a direct selling person may find a situation where many people are at one place is a chance for him to sell his products. He just needs courage to approach them and pitch the products.
However, not all of our traits and psychological mechanisms are set in motion at all times. Sometimes, a person does not even notice he has the traits until the situation spark it to action. Think about the traits of bravery. Some people make known they are afraid of blood, fire or have phobia with water. When circumstances happened, somehow the one whom afraid with blood find the strength of saving people in bloody accidents, the one whom afraid of fire sacrifice his safety helping old woman in cruel fire and the one whom phobia with water somehow help a teenagers who almost drown in the sea. This unfamiliar trait only appears when the right condition presents itself.
Person-Environment Interaction Communications with situations contain perceptions, selections, evocations and manipulations. Perceptions refer to how we see or understand an environment. A group of people may sit together in one cinema watching the latest horror movie but how they describe and understand the movie maybe different. Personality contributes on how people perceive things. The same situations can be applied on children by asking the describing a cloud. One may say the cloud looks like cat, and the other may give different answers.
Selection describes the mode in which we prefer situations to enter. In life, we deal with many situations where we have to choose, pick or select. We choose friends that have similarities with us. In choosing career, people tend to op for job that they love and believe they have the capabilities to do. People will do something that suits their personality and not jeopardizing their belief.
Evocations are the feedback we create in others, frequently somewhat unintentionally. To some extent, we contribute the social environment that we dwell in. Some people used to talk loudly without noticing somebody is offended, genuinely the reason he talks loudly because he is concerned the people at the back may not heard him. These evocative connections are also basics features of personalities. The person who is unwell, always sneezing and this action somehow irritates others even that are not the purpose.
Manipulations are the ways in which we purposely try to persuade others. For example, people with conscientiousness trait may insist everyone in classroom to follow school rules and keep the class tidy. The classic example that always happens in my class is someone who is exhausted and need cigarettes break will persuade the bravest person in class to ask lecturer’s permission for five minutes recess.
There are no way understanding people’s personalities in short period of time. We need time to develop concern, curiosity and other feeling before jumping to conclusion and labeling people just because we do not like what we saw. Observations plays an important role in understanding one’s personality and judging without
Even though people keep on changing their personalities, this is not a barrier for us for not to understand them. Knowing oneself will provide advantages in unfolding, explaining and predicting differences between people hence will make this world a better place through understanding.
Feldman, R.S (2010). Essentials of Understanding Psychology. New York: McGraw-Hill
McAdam, D.P. (2005) The Person: The New Introduction to Personality Psychology. New York: Wiley
Poropat, A.E (2009) “A meta-analysis of the five-factor model of personality and academic performance”. Psychological Bulletin 135 (2): 322–338.
McCrae, R.R. & Costa, P.T. (1987). “Validation of the Five-Factor Model of Personality Across Instruments and Observer”. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 81-90.